Hopewell Chin’ono must be free!

Hopewell Chin'ono

What is surprising, looking back in time is that Martin Luther King was challenged by Jewish rabbis in Atlanta, who said that his activities in Birmingham, Alabama, on behalf of human rights for blacks over there was destabilising the tranquility of life in the US.

Letter from America
with KENNETH MUFUKA

King replied that; “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” So, we say, the incarceration of Hopewell Chin’ono is not only a grave injustice, but a threat and a cover for greater evils taking place not only in Zimbabwe, but in Africa as a whole. The recolonisation of Africa by China has begun, while the Copperheads continue merrymaking, drinking tea, marrying multiple wives, and engaging in small corrupt activities while the African motherland is being sold to China.

But, I am ahead of myself.

Hopewell is a small fish in the scheme of things, but he has stepped on big toes. The “alleged” misallocation of Covid-19 health supplies by Drax International, a fly-by-night briefcase company, and the approval of such an action by former Health minister Obadiah Moyo, is only a fly in the ointment of bigger things.

If the scheme had succeeded, US$60 million would have been misallocated.

Please, dear reader, notice that we no longer use the terms theft, or fraud. Austrian economist Frederic Bastiat long realised that where the elites habitually steal from the poor, they will pass laws, which make it legal to do so.

Zimbabwe is a classic case. Bastiat named the two great ideas behind legalised plunder as “stupid greed” (his words) and false philanthropy. In the cases investigated by Hopewell, “stupid greed” seems to have been the prevalent operative factor. It is a desire to obtain wealth (of others) which they cannot acquire through open competition.

If the Covid-19 face masks had been approved, they would have entered the Zimbabwe market at US$24 a piece, whereas they cost 80 US cents a piece here. But Bastiat’s major discovery was that the elites, having discovered their power to offer such uncompetitive contracts, therefore make laws to legalise looting. Looting is not unlawful, because those entrusted with such wealth have a legal right to dispose of such wealth.

Our readers are acquainted with the farm mechanisation programme and the “finding” by the malefactors that a loan was a grant.

Hopewell has been denied bail. And we ask: “On what grounds?” There is an iron law in journalism never to say bad words about judges because one day one may find himself before one.

We will, therefore, proceed hastily, only allowing ourselves a mild rebuke of Justice Tawanda Chitapi, who, if he had tempered justice with mercy, since July 31, was three lunar days past, would have escaped the appearance of partiality. Brother Chitapi, as was the magistrate before him, was annoyed that “the appellant (showed) defiance of state authority on the basis of a claim of right”. The honorable judge did not say whether that “right” existed.

That is in fact the gist of the matter. Did Hopewell, in practicing his craft, have a right to publicise corrupt activities, though with an intemperate brush of the pen?

Meanwhile, the “alleged” malefactor, Obadiah Moyo, turned up at court with $50 000 in small denominations, was allowed bail and slept in his warm bed.

Hopewell must be freed. I pray that nothing happens to him while in a stupid dirty prison infested by mice and lice. The wise judges would have been conscious of making a martyr out of him. The consequences of such a misfortune are incalculable.

The main issue here is not Hopewell, but the policy by most African governments to invited Chinese colonisation.

Victor and Cresentia Madebwe, in their senior thesis at Midlands State University, recorded the sufferings of 600 families involuntarily displaced at Chiadzwa in favour of Chinese Anjin Mining Company. The families were not consulted; the support promised did not materialise.

Jobs promised to young men did not materialise. Loss of fruit trees, boreholes, gardens, ancestral graveyards and even relationships were not considered when moved. The monetary help amounted to $1 500 for each family, and agricultural inputs promised were not forthcoming.

The Chindori-Chininga parliamentary reports of 2011-2012 indicate that Anjin and Mbada companies operated in opaque circumstances, tax obligations were invisible. The Chinese modus operandi was to ship everything, including ore to China, through a non-regulated airport. Robert Mugabe mentioned that estimated revenue of US$15 billion went missing in 10 years.

Our government is repeating the same misdirection of policy among the Shangwe. The Shangwe were the last to be removed from their tribal area in the
50 000-acre Sililangwe Conservancy which was given to an American conservationist in 1952.

Now they are being moved in order to give way to a foreign grass-growing company.

Our government has been in cahoots with Chinese operatives in looting sovereign wealth. But I have more; new evidence reveals that Chinese citizens are now operating nickel and dime stores. One report says some Chinese citizens were roasting mealie-mealies for sale on roadsides, overtaking native street vendors in that endeavour.

There is more. In Zambia, Chinese authorities have been given police oversight and have been reported to have superior powers over natives.

In Nigeria, as we speak, the Minister of Finance is in hot soup over some contractual agreements made with China. A clause inserted in one contract says failure to pay may result in Chinese overriding national sovereignty in order to recover their investment.

Hopewell has more work to do. He has barely scratched the tip of the iceberg. Our governments are busy handing over the continent to new and horrible imperialists.

Hopewell must be free. There is more work to be done.

l Ken Mufuka is a patriot. His book on Robert Mugabe, Dream Betrayed, is available at INNOV Bookshops. Other books are available at kenmufukabooks.com. He can be reached at mufukaken@gmail.com